Trees or shrubs, glabrous or with an indumentum of single hairs. Leaves spirally arranged, simple, entire or 2—10-lobed, penninerved, evergreen or deciduous; stipules present, at first enclosing and protecting the innovations, later caducous and leaving an annular scar around the node. Flowers terminal or pseudoaxillary on a short shoot in the axils of the leaves, bisexual, rarely unisexual, pedunculate. Peduncle bearing 1 or more caducous spathaceous bracts which leave annular scars. Perianth spiral or spirocyclic, simple or differentiated in calyx and corolla, perianth members 6 or more, free, imbricate. Stamens numerous, free, spirally arranged; filaments short or more or less elongated; anthers linear, 2-locular, dehiscing introrsely, latrorsely or rarely extrorsely; connective usually more or less produced into an appendage. Gynoecium sessile or stipitate (a gynophore present); carpels numerous to few (rarely one), spirally arranged (except in Pachylarnax), free or sometimes concrescent; ovules 2 or more, biseriate on the ventral suture. Fruit apocarpous, sometimes syncarpous; fruiting carpels opening along the dorsal and/or ventral suture, or circumscissile, rarely indehiscent. Seed(s) 1 or more in each fruiting carpel, large, in dehiscent carpels hanging from the elongated spiral vessels of the funiculus, with arilloid testa, rarely, when fruit indehiscent adherent to the endocarp; endosperm copious, oily; embryo minute. Distribution. Seven genera in temperate and tropical SE. and E. Asia and from North America southward through the West Indies and Central America to S. Brazil.